How to Make the Most of this Summer

I think we can all agree that this summer will be one for the books! While we are all still under quarantine and taking safety precautions, the nice weather that comes along with summertime has been extra crucial this year.

Now that we are well into August, I want to make sure that I’m taking advantage of this moment in time and making the most out of the rest of the summer! I thought I would share my 3 best ideas for creating a memorable summer with you! 🙂

3 Ways to Make the Most of this Summer

1) Get outside – The first way to make the most out of this summer is to get outside as much as possible! While you may not be able to take your typical summer vacation this year, there are still plenty of things that you can do to make your everyday life feel more like a vacation and enjoy having a staycation at home!

While many of us may be a little bit tired of being inside our homes after the long days of quarantining this spring, we can take steps to enjoy the change of scenery right outside our front door! Some ideas include: drinking your coffee on the front porch, having picnics in the yard, grilling out every night, getting a new firepit to enjoy nights out by the fire, or grabbing some new cushions to freshen up your outdoor living space.

Also, just because you aren’t traveling to a tropical location, doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere! Use this time to explore where you live! Take a road trip to a different part of your state. Check out all of the parks, beaches, mountains, or anything else that your area has to offer. You may end up finding some new favorite spots close to home!

2) Play! – Summertime is the perfect time to let your inner child out to play. Make the most of this summer by letting the easygoing and free spirited parts of your personality shine through and give yourself permission to act like a kid again.

Swim, run, swing, and splash in the water. Run through the sprinklers, blow bubbles outside, and catch fireflies in the evenings. Roast marshmallows on that new firepit you bought, have a campout and make some s’mores. Hint: these are all such fun activities to do with your kids! Angelo and I taught June how to catch fireflies this summer and the joy on her face the first time she caught one is something that I won’t forget! It’s the simple, playful moments that often make the best family memories! Enjoy more magical moments by having a sense of adventure and being more playful this summer.

3) Enjoy leisure time – Savor slow living this summer. Don’t let the rest of the summer go by without taking time to soak in some rest and relaxation.

Take some time out to read for fun, take a nap under a tree, or sip a cold beverage while you watch your kids play outside. Take long baths, flip through a magazine, and play soothing music. Enjoy lazy days and long conversations with friends. Take time to slow down, relax, and unwind. Do something just for you!

Are you ready to get outside, play, and enjoy some leisure time?! I hope these ideas help get the wheels turning and inspire you to have some adventures as you make the most out of the rest of this summer!

Be well,
Ambar



How to Be More Present in the Moment

Practicing presence with my family this weekend 🙂

Last week, my family and I set out for a beach day. It started out as a bust because as soon as we got there, it started raining, so we had to run for cover like the rest of the beachgoers.

But, as our time waiting for the rain to pass got longer, it started to feel kind of nice. The three of us have been spending ALOT of time together lately (because #quarantinelife), but something about this time felt a little bit different. We were stuck waiting for the rain to pass for close to an hour, and I started to realize that this together time felt different because we were completely undistracted with nothing to do except talk to each other and watch the rain. It made me realize the importance of being present with one another, and that just because we’re together almost all of the time now, it doesn’t mean that we’re spending quality time together.

So, I came up with 3 ways to practice being more present with my loved ones. I want to share this with you in case you want to be more mindful about spending quality time with the people you love most.

  1. Put your phone away

    This one is a little obvious, but if you want to be present with the people around you, you have to put down your phone. Our phones are a major distraction from what’s going on right in front of us. Make an effort to be where your feet are, and find some time each day away from the phone.

  2. Watch your body language

    Our body language is a big part of the way that we communicate with others. If you want to show the people you love that they are special to you, you can use your body language to demonstrate your love for them. This means looking them in the eye, turning your body towards them, uncrossing your arms and getting down to children’s eye level. Use your body language to communicate that you are open and willing to engage with the people you love.

  3. Notice your surroundings

    The final step in being present in the moment is to engage your senses and pay attention to the things going on around you. Enjoy your environment by indulging in your senses. Notice the things you can see, hear, touch, and taste. Coming back to your senses is a quick way to bring your awareness back to the present moment anytime your mind starts to wander. By being aware of your surroundings, you force yourself to acknowledge what’s happening in the moment, which then allows you to be more present with the people you are sharing the experience with.

And that’s it! Practice these 3 steps and you’ll notice yourself feeling much more connected to the people around you. You will start to see how good it feels to live in the present moment… at least some of the time!

Wishing you a week full of love and presence!

Be well,
Ambar

World Peace Begins with Inner Peace

world peace begins with inner peace

Hi friends,

There is a lot going on in our world right now… COVID-19, 3 months of quarantine, racial injustice. It’s a lot to take on.

I truly believe that all of these things are coming to a head right now to force us to change and evolve. If it feels heavy and uncomfortable, that’s because it is. Change is always tricky in our personal lives, so it makes sense that it would be even more challenging when it’s happening on a global scale. We are quite literally living through history right now. It’s heavy, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s scary, but it’s also necessary if we want to create a better world for the next generation.

If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that world change begins with inner change, and world peace begins with inner peace. This is not the time for us to shut down. It’s time for us to rise up.

Here’s what you can do to make the world a better place in your own unique way:

1. Support your mental health and wellbeing. Your mental health is more important than ever right now. Change has to begin with you, first and foremost. If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone.

Take time for yourself each and every day. Create quiet space to be alone with your thoughts. By cultivating this daily habit, you will start to feel more tuned in to your own intuition, and that is what will lead you to the next right steps to take in every area of your life.

Pay attention to your energy and anxiety levels. If you notice that you are not feeling your best, try to notice what’s triggering you and take steps to correct it. You may be called to disconnect from social media for a while, turn off the news, get outside and spend time in nature, pray, meditate, or exercise.  Remember that taking care of yourself is always your #1 job.

2. Make changes at home. Once you’ve tackled your own wellbeing, you can start making changes at home, within your family unit.

Start having important conversations with your kids and family members. Get creative and think about how you can begin to make positive changes in your own special way. You may be called to read certain books, make posters to hang in your window, or have difficult conversations with relatives.

Remember that change begins at home and often the thing that matters most is what we do to raise the next generation to be better than the previous one was. It starts at home.

3. Choose one way to help. The last few weeks have been overwhelming. There have been an influx of resources, events, organizations, and calls for help. This is all amazing, but when we spread our energy out all over the place we end up making very little impact.

Choose one way to support racial injustice, global health, and/or any cause that feels most pressing to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this, what matters is that you follow what feels true in your heart.

Do your research, financially support an organization, volunteer in your community, get out and vote, or join a peaceful protest. Choose one thing and devote yourself to it. You can make a bigger impact when you focus on one right thing at a time.

I hope that you find these ideas helpful. I am by no means an expert at any of this, but this is what feels true to me, and I wanted to share it with you as part of taking my next right step.

Take good care of yourself, your family, and the world. We are all in this together.

Be well,
Ambar

Is bedtime driving you crazy? This will help.

Do your kids go to sleep on their own?

At almost 5 years old, we still lay with June until she falls asleep. Sometimes it’s a drag, and sometimes it feels like the best part of my day.

The other night I was laying waiting for her to drift off, thinking about all the things I still had to do, the laundry that needed to be switched, the book I’m reading, how much I was counting on a few minutes of alone time before falling asleep myself…

And then I heard, “Mommy, do you want to hold hands?

And it brought me right back to the present moment. Because of course I want to hold hands! And I know she might not always want to hold mine.

The to-do list can wait. The laundry can wait. The book can wait. The alone time can wait.

Time won’t wait. I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, and to all of us, that even on the nights where bedtime seems to take forever, this season won’t. So we might as well try our best to enjoy it while it lasts.

At what age did your kids start going to bed on their own? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you peace and comfort through all of life’s passing moments (even the challenging ones!).

Be well,
Ambar

10 Weeks of Quarantine

surviving quarantine life

Hi friends!

Here we are – a full 10 weeks into quarantine life. Can you even believe it’s been this long? As we start to settle into this wacky way of life, I figured it was time to get real about what’s working for us as a family, and what’s not, so I decided to make a list.

What’s working:

  • Laughing instead of crying
  • Family walks
  • My morning yoga/meditation routine
  • Having a daily rhythm for June’s schoolwork
  • Tagging in and out with Angelo so we each have time to get work done

What’s not working:

  • Fighting with Angelo because we feel like neither of us ever gets a break
  • Too many snacks…and I’m not just talking about June 😂 ha!
  • Slacking on quality family time together
  • Nothing that even resembles a date night

I made this list at the beginning of last week, and it was so helpful in getting me to focus on doing more of the things that are working, and taking steps to fix the ones that aren’t.

I started off with tackling my snacking habits and told June that I wasn’t going to eat any extra snacks in between meals this week, so that if she saw me having some, she should call me out on it (nothing like having your 4 year old keep you accountable! Lol!). I was surprised that when I got her involved, she decided that she wasn’t going to have any extra snacks either because she wanted to do what I was doing. She typically asks for snacks all day long and ended up making it a day and a half without any snacks, but it helped me be more aware of how we’re feeding ourselves as a family.

We also kept up with all of the things that were already working for us, and this week we’re going to work on creating more quality time together outside as the weather warms up and summer unofficially begins.

Making these lists of what’s working and what’s not is such an easy and practical way to make sure that we make the most of this extra time together at home, without driving each other crazy in the process.

Where are you at on your stay at home journey? What’s working and what’s not?

Have a beautiful week and stay healthy and happy!

Be well,
Ambar

How to Stop Anxiety about the Coronavirus

how to stop anxiety about the coronavirus

Hi friends!

The world feels a little crazy right now. Businesses and events are shutting down, schools are closing, supermarkets are running out of necessities, and the possibility of being quarantined has become real, all due to the spread of the Coronavirus.

During uncertain times such as this, it can be all too easy for panic and anxiety to set in.

If you’re starting to feel anxiety about the Coronavirus and society’s reaction to it, please keep reading! The following 3 tips are here to provide you with a sense of calm during this unsettling time.

HOW TO STOP ANXIETY ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS

1. Set Boundaries – Now is the time to set firm boundaries about the news that you’re taking in. Yes, we all want to be aware of what’s going on, but keeping the news channel on 24/7 and scrolling the media outlets all day is not helping anyone. The media is programmed to increase viewers and in order to do that, they often sensationalize current events to hook you in and keep you watching. This is disastrous for your nervous system.

Decide how often you want to check in on the latest news. Maybe you want to check in twice a day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Choose the number that feels good to you and make efforts to stick to this boundary. The rest of the time, carry on with life as usual to the best of your ability, knowing that you’ll be aware of any new developments during your scheduled check in times.

Aside from restricting how much time you’re spending on news and media, choose not to engage in fearful conversations. Let the people around you know that you are choosing to stay positive and will not be engaging in obsessive and unhelpful conversations about the Coronavirus.

2. Focus on Wellness instead of Illness

During times of uncertainty, it always helps to focus on the things we CAN control instead of what we can’t. So on that note, make wellness your main focus right now.

Check in with your body and do all of the things that it needs in order to feel good – eat lots of fruit and vegetables, wash your hands often, take your vitamins and supplements, get fresh air, and exercise.

Check in with your mind and see what it desires in order to feel at peace – read an interesting book and engage in interesting conversations. Use any extra time home with your loved ones to work on board games or puzzles together.

And lastly, check in with your soul and give yourself some soul fuel – practice yoga, meditate, or pray as often as you need to in order to keep your soul at ease.

By focusing on wellness rather than illness, you will be able to stop anxiety about the coronavirus and bring wellbeing into your life.

3. Be in your Body

Finally, the last thing to remember is to keep your energy inward and really be in your body. Instead of focusing anxious energy into what’s going on in the world at large, bring the focus back into yourself and your own being.

Breathe deeply. Feel your feet on the ground. Bring a hand to your chest and feel your heart beating. Notice your environment and the people around you. Be here now and keep bringing your attention back to the present moment… it’s always all we have.

I hope that these 3 tips help you keep anxiety about the Coronavirus at bay and allow you to find some peace during this chaotic time.

I am thinking of you and sending you health, love, and light.

Be well,
Ambar


Winter Solstice : Be the Light

Hi friends!

The holidays are upon us, winter has arrived, and yesterday we celebrated the winter solstice which represents the darkest day of the year.

Today we begin the process of slowly moving back toward the light.

During these dark days, it’s important to pay attention to both the light and the shadows in our lives.

What are you wanting to bring to light in your life? What are you ready to let go of?

Here’s a simple journaling activity you can do to get clear on your intentions…

Fold a piece of paper in half. On one side, write “my shadows” and on the other side write “my light”.

Under your shadows, list out any challenges, uneasy feelings, or struggles that you are facing.

Under your light, list out your gifts, the blessings in your life, and the things that you are naturally good at.

Take a close look at your lists and notice where your focus goes. Which of these aspects would you like to work on in this next season of life? Which shadows are you ready to let go of? And what parts of your light are you ready to let shine even brighter?

Circle these items on your lists and set your intention to let it be so.

What are you bringing to light this season? Please share in the comments below!

Be well,
Ambar

Happy Fall y’all!

Photo taken at Sacred Beginnings Retreat by Olivia Hamilton Jones <3


Tomorrow marks the autumn equinox and first day of fall in the northern hemisphere. It is a powerful day to get intentional about our lives, hopes, and dreams.

Living an intentional life is not difficult; it just requires a little bit of introspection and planning.

Tomorrow is the ideal day to take a little time for yourself and look at the life that you want to create.

Ask yourself: 

What have I created that I am proud of?

What ideas, projects, and goals did I set into motion that have now come to fruition?

What am I ready to let go of?

What beliefs and habits are holding me back, and how can I allow them to fall away?

What small steps can I take today to start living my happiest, most fulfilled life?


Another simple thing that you can do is to start a new habit where every time you see a leaf fall you imagine that you are letting go of something that needs to fall away in your own life. This might sound a little silly but try it and notice how you feel! 🙂 

I hope that you take a few minutes to think about these powerful questions as we begin this new beautiful autumn season. 

If you’d like some more ideas for how to celebrate the transition into fall, you can check out this blog post I wrote about simple rituals to celebrate autumn.

Happy Fall!

Be well,
Ambar


Back to school traditions

back to school traditions

My daughter started her second year of preschool yesterday and I wanted to share something I’ve been doing to make the back to school season feel a little more special.

Last year I started a new tradition where we buy and arrange fresh flowers the night before the first day of school as a symbol of fresh starts, new beginnings, and all of the growth that will happen in the coming year!

I include my daughter in the process by having her come to the store to pick out the flowers, and then we listen to fun music while we make flower arrangements together and set them up all over the house.

Right now, I’m way more into this than she is at 4 years old, but I’m hoping that I remember to keep the tradition going year after year, and eventually she’ll look back on it as something that her crazy mom did to make her feel loved and celebrated!

Transitions are so important and crating simple rituals around them helps us all feel so much more grounded and at ease during seasons of change.

Do you have any special back to school traditions or routines? I’d love to hear about them!

And if you don’t, maybe you can take some time this weekend to start one! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just think of something that you can enjoy with your children year after year to mark the beginning of the school year. Maybe it’s a special breakfast that you make, a lazy Saturday morning in bed, or a local carnival or event that you go to. Maybe it’s a special book that you read or a special song that you sing. Maybe you start having movie nights every Friday or bake cookies every Monday. What would feel sweet and special to you and your family?

Have a beautiful weekend, friend!

Be well,
Ambar

How to Stop Dreading Bedtime with Littles

 

stop dreading bedtime

For the first 3 years of my daughter’s life, my husband and I felt that we had lucked out with a little one that was a good sleeper. Our baby, June, quickly started waking up just once per night for most of her infancy (something I could totally deal with after hearing other parents’ horror stories of babies who would wake up countless times or refuse to sleep at all). Right after she turned one, she started sleeping through the night. She slept soundly though the night for the next two years. Bedtime went smoothly most nights. We would do bathtime, read two books, then bed without much fuss. In our heads, we were living the dream.

That is, until this past summer when we transitioned June out of a crib and into a regular bed. That’s when everything changed. This little one was suddenly loving her newfound freedom and refusing to go to bed every night! We tried to continue our bedtime routine of bath, two books, and bed, but every time that we would put her in bed, she would immediately get back up… over and over and over again.

Bedtime started to become a huge ordeal and something that we dreaded each night. We tried everything: walking her back to bed each time she got up. Laying next to her until she fell asleep. Sitting outside her bedroom door. Letting her sleep in our bed. Nothing worked and it became a long drawn out affair where my husband and I felt like we were losing a battle each night.

From day one as a mom, I have been a very attachment based parent, and things like crying it out never worked for me. The flip side of that is that disciplining is one of the areas in which I need the most work as a parent. And bedtime was becoming a constant reminder of that as for the life of me I could not get my child to go to sleep!

Then, I listened to a podcast featuring a sleep expert who said something that got me thinking of this whole thing differently. She said that she works with all different types of families, and that even if a family co-sleeps, they can still have a plan for bedtime.

This made me realize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I had been thinking that the only two options were to let my child miserably cry herself to sleep each night, or to give in to her every whim. But now, I realized that there were a lot of options in between that I hadn’t even considered.

In the last month or so, I’ve started implementing some changes and creating my own bedtime plan with June, and things have gotten so much better! I want to share what I’ve been doing in case it might help you too!

Here are 4 steps you can take to create a smoother experience of bedtime:

1) Decide the parameters – I realized that even if I didn’t want to let my daughter cry herself to sleep, or lock her in her bedroom at night, we had to have some boundaries as to what is acceptable.

When I first started making these changes, we were to the point where we were reading almost every book on the bookshelf, and making up countless stories each night. Bedtime had turned into such a struggle that I often just gave up and let her crawl into bed with me until she fell asleep. The problem with that was that she goes to sleep by 8pm, and I was getting so tired laying in bed that I then didn’t want to get back up again after she went down. I realized that this wasn’t working for me, so I set my parameters: two books, one story, and no more sleeping in my bed. I decided that no matter what, June has to stay in her room when it’s time to go to sleep (even if I stay in there with her).

2) Make it as special as possible within those parameters – Once I decided that we were staying in June’s bedroom each night no matter what, I went about making sure that her room felt as special as possible. I make sure that we diffuse lavender essential oils next to her bed, snuggle with cozy knit blankets, and sit in silence.

I remembered that…

Bedtime is a spiritual practice.

When June was an infant I would often use bedtime as a special quiet time of day for the two of us. I would sit in stillness and meditate as I nursed and rocked her to sleep and those are some of my sweetest memories with her as a baby.

Just because she is getting older, does not mean that bedtime has to stop being a spiritual practice. Quite the contrary. I am more aware than ever that my daughter is growing faster than ever, and that she won’t want to lay with me forever. By making the most of our nights together, I am creating more special memories that we’ll always have to hold onto. I am showing her how to create a sacred space to rest in. And, I am making the experience more pleasurable for myself as well.

3) Ditch your own agenda – Part of this process includes surrendering. I realized that a lot of what I was dreading about bedtime is that I wanted to be doing something else. At the end of a long day, I look forward to having some alone time to read or snuggle on the couch with my husband. With bedtime taking so long each night, I was becoming aggravated that I couldn’t do the other things I would rather be doing.

Now, I’ve surrendered to the fact that bedtime might take a bit longer than I would like it to most nights. I’ve stopped fighting it and surrendered to doing my best to enjoy the present moment instead of counting down the minutes until my little one falls asleep.

4) Detach from the outcome – By this point, you have done all you can. You have set and enforced limits that you are comfortable with. You’ve made bedtime feel special. You’ve let go of your own agenda in wishing things were different. Now it’s time to let go of the outcome.

Even if your little one wants to keep reading 10 books, you stay firm to your limit of 2 stories. If he or she wants to keep talking, you stop responding. If they try to leave the room, you stay put and they will make their way back.

Things won’t go perfectly each night, but by sticking to this 4 step process, you’ll ensure that bedtime becomes a more pleasant experience for both you and your little one.

Do you have a little one that doesn’t like to go to sleep?! What are your bedtime tips? Please share with us in the comments below.

Wishing you a restful week!

Be well,
Ambar